At a time when the number of devices, vendors and operating systems continues to grow exponentially, the quality of the user experience has never been more important. In fact, milliseconds of differences in page speed time matter to consumers forming an opinion about a website. If an application doesn’t meet the user’s expectations, it will likely be set aside for something better.
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Apart from the development phase itself, delivering on those expectations often relies on testing — automation testing in particular. After all, companies that automate at least half of their testing not only have faster testing cycles, but also find bugs sooner. But getting to that 50% mark is easier said than done.
Building a better business case for testing
In an ideal world, automation growth in testing would happen naturally. But, as those in tech already know, developers often experience immense pushback from certain stakeholders who are too busy chasing the trendy stuff to focus on company-wide improvements to the process.
This leaves little money or resources for test automation growth. Now, the stakeholders’ bells and whistles are all well and good, but no amount of razzle-dazzle can cover for poor testing practices.
After all, testing is akin to taxes. When buying a product, consumers must pay taxes at the point of purchase; there is no choice in the matter. The same is true for the development and implementation of your testing rollout. You can invest in all the development you want, but there’s a “tax” to be paid before it hits the marketplace, and that’s testing.
But as with taxes, it isn’t uncommon for stakeholders to try to pay as little as possible when the bill comes in. However, there are still ways to get the resources needed to support test automation growth. Here’s where to focus attention to get the sign offs you need to expand your testing automation.
How to make the case for increased test automation resources
Gather data on software issues
There are incidents, and then there are problems. Incidents tend to be one-off disruptions limited to single users. Problems, on the other hand, are the cause of incidents but are more far-reaching in nature. Incidents can certainly amass into problems, but companies won’t come to a resolution or mitigate the risk of either without the proper data to support automation testing.
Take a deeper dive into software issues. Review the support tickets, capture the reasons for incidents and document known errors. There’s likely a trend at work, and that information can encourage all stakeholders to invest in further test automation resources.
Emphasize the importance of front-end testing
Low adoption of any technology is often attributed to the lack of continuous training and support for the end user, leading to a digital literacy gap. While that can surely be the case, the other likely culprit can be the software or application itself. Issues or bugs in certain functionalities can cause users to not only avoid the software or application but abandon it altogether, choosing instead to develop workarounds to get the task done.
Testing is a proven strategy to mitigate risk. For example, front-end automation testing will catch errors that may harm the user interface. Acceptance testing, accessibility testing, unit testing and regression testing are just a few of the levels to include in a test automation framework to further build your case for more resources.
Highlight testing in relation to sustainable practices
Test automation in and of itself can be a sustainable practice. When companies automate testing, it doesn’t take much effort beyond periodic maintenance or updates once implemented. However, that theory can quickly go out the window without the proper controls in place. Achieving truly sustainable test automation often starts with keeping automated test scripts simple. In other words, don’t overcomplicate the coding for test scenarios. Simplify scripts by focusing on one task or path at a time.
Also, make sure these scripts are resilient. Should an application or functionality change, the maintenance can become overwhelming. More importantly, synchronize tests on critical components of the application rather than using wait statements that ensure a certain condition is satisfied.
If all else fails, lean on the simple fact that the competition is already relying on test automation to improve the quality of the user experience and speed up the time it takes to get a product to market. Without automation testing, the likelihood of keeping pace with the rate of change decreases exponentially.
As Director of CTG’s Application and Information Solutions and Testing Solutions in North America, Rick Cruz has executive responsibility for the ongoing development of CTG‘s AIS and Testing offerings and teams to deliver innovative, global services that help clients strategically address their business challenges.